Like other states, Pennsylvania recognizes that there are some situations in which parents might not be able either to share decision-making or to split the time with the children about equally.
One of these situations is when one parent has abused the other. Sadly, domestic violence does happen too often in Lancaster County.
On the other hand, there are situations in which one parent will fabricate or even outright lie about domestic violence in order to get an edge in a custody or other family law case.
Pennsylvania’s laws allow family judges to protect victims of domestic violence
While they might not do so in as great of detail as do other states, Pennsylvania does have laws which allow family court judges to address domestic violence if it comes to their attention in a family law case.
For example, Pennsylvania’s courts are required to consider any track record of a parent’s abuse against either the child or the other parent. The court specifically has to decide whether there is some risk of additional harm to the child.
Lancaster residents should remember that no conviction, charge, police report or the like is necessary for a judge to consider an allegation of abuse.
There are also no time limits on how far a court can look back for allegations of abuse.
On the other hand, even if he or she hears evidence of abuse and believes it, a judge is still allowed to award the accused parent custody and parenting time.
However, if he or she does so, the judge will then have to put into place a safety plan to make sure that both the child and victim are protected from further abuse.
Whether a parent in a custody dispute is a victim of abuse or is trying to defend against allegations, he or she will likely want to understand all available legal options.